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Nevertheless, on May 24, the false prophet set a new 'end-of-the-world' date: October 21, 2011
As expected, that date came and went as well.
May 21 is Judgment Day, when "this world will be a horror story beyond anything we can imagine," [Harold Camping] asserts.
End-of-timers generally have been fixated on the doomsday date of Dec. 21, 2012 - when the "Long Count" calendar of the ancient Maya ends and, presumably, the world with it.
There won't even be a 2012, according to Camping. His website displays the number with a red slash through it.
In a phone interview last week from his Oakland, Calif., office, Camping warned that those who do not accept his complex calculations, including even devout Christians, will face "sudden destruction" when Jesus returns.
In the late 1980s, he began warning the end would come in September 1994. When Gabriel's trumpet failed to sound, he revised his dates for several years before dropping the subject.
Now the former civil engineer, who is not ordained, maintains that God has revealed to him the true meaning of many dates and symbolic numbers in the Bible.
Essentially, he argues that May 21, 2011, is "exactly 7,000 years after 4990 B.C., when the [great] flood began," and that these 7,000 years mirror the seven days God gave Noah to warn the world to get ready for destruction.
At the end of the new warning period "there will be a huge earthquake the likes of which has never been had in history," he said in the interview, "and the graves will be opened all over the world."
Jesus will gather up the saved in their glorified bodies - there will only be about 200 million - and the unsaved will be left to rot into manure. "The Bible uses some ugly language" to describe the end, he said.
Five months later, on Oct. 21, "the entire universe will be annihilated."
That Christ will return in glory to judge "the living and the dead" lies at the core of Christian belief, and most conservative Christians share Camping's conviction that the Bible paints an authentic picture of how the world-as-we-know-it will end.
But most also point out that Jesus told his disciples that even he did not know the "day nor the hour" that that will occur.
Quite a few are making a prediction of their own: The sage of Oakland will wake up embarrassed on May 22.
Camping does not intend to be disappointed. He has no plans for May 21 other than to "watch and wait," he said.
He scoffed when asked how he might feel if he wakes up on May 22.
"I would be disobeying God if I say there's a possibility of that," he said. "I mean it with all my heart. There's no possibility - none, none, none - that it will not happen."
- Source: David O'Reilly, May 21 is said to be the end of the world, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Jan. 17, 2011
Some followers of Harold Camping claim he never predicted that the end of the world would occur in 1994. This outtake from an exchange with the BBC's Louis Theroux shows otherwise:
Dr. James White, Director of Alpha & Omega Ministries, taught this seminar on Harold Camping in 2002 at the Grace Reformed Baptist Church on Long Island.
Camping actually set many dates for the rapture, including:
September 15, 1994, the Jewish Day of Atonement
September 25, 1994, the Jewish feast of tabernacles
October 4, 1994, the anniversary of Jesus' actual birthday as calculated by Camping
December 25, 1994, based on Camping's explanation of Revelation 11:10 (people sending each other gifts)
February 25, 1995, the Jewish feast of Purim
May 3, 1996 Camping explained how the "four watches" alluded to in Mark 13:35 extended the September 6, 1994 date until then
For a while Camping also taught that September 6, 1994 was the right date after all -- but for the beginning of the Great Tribulation, not Judgment Day. But in line with Camping's theology that would mean the return of the Lord would take place no later than 2008. Source: information gathered by David Rastetter, who operated a website titled, Family Radio is Wrong! [Internet Archive version]
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